Earth is round. So why do some people deny facts and believe in a flat Earth?

February 25, 2019 - 6:57 PM
Earth in outer space
In this photo: The Philippines may have its own national space agency soon with the Congress passing House Bill 8541 or the Philippine Space Development Act if it is signed into law. (Facebook/Philippine Space Agency - PSA)

Despite centuries of scientific proof that disproves the Earth is flat, there has been a growing number of people, including Filipinos, who deny the shape of the world as round.

A report from The Guardian said that YouTube may have something to do with the alarming rise of these people, collectively called “flat-earthers,” due to the number of videos about it being uploaded on the platform.

Researchers found via interviews at a flat earth convention in the United States that many attendees got converted by watching conspiracy theories on the popular video streaming site.

Ashley Landrum, one of the researchers, said that some of these visuals involve biblical texts and theories that seemed to be convincing to common people.

“One way or another, the interviewees found themselves believers and before long were asking ‘where is the curve?” and “why is the horizon always at eye level?’” the report said.

According to the New Yorker, there are many organizations, podcasts and websites nowadays that hold meetings and conferences discussing the idea that earth is flat such as “The Flat Earth Society” and the “Daily Plane.”

Both articles cited a video titled “200 Proofs that Earth is Not a Spinning Ball,” posted by a certain Eric Dubay, which seemed to recruit new supporters.

In the Philippines, there are social media groups that also promote the same idea through colorful visuals and misleading scientific data.

TV journalist Ina Reformina was criticized recently for her tweet that seemed to propose her support of a flat earth society. She did not, however, explicitly state her opinion on the matter in her tweet.

Despite her tweet being merely suggestive, it drew some ire among some Filipinos online.

While Earth is often portrayed as round globe, its actual shape is an oblate spheroid or a sphere-like structure that is squashed at the poles and swollen or bulged at the equator.

Gravitational pull, uneven mass distribution and rotational forces are among the factors that cause Earth to form this way.

Live Science, a science reference website, explained that flat earth theories don’t believe in this fact.

A popular flat earth theory states that earth is just a disc with the Arctic Circle at the center and Antarctica at the rim.

“NASA employees, they say, guard this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc,” the article said.

They also believed that all photos, even those from NASA and other related agencies, are false.

“The motive for world governments’ concealment of the true shape of the Earth has not been ascertained, but flat-earthers believe it is probably financial,” it added.

What’s the implication?

For Landrum, there’s nothing wrong with having a differing opinion or belief on earth’s shape. The problem lies when that person becomes too skeptic to believe anything other than fabricated information.

She said that even if there are many informative YouTube videos, there are more videos that spread misinformation.

“The only tool we have to battle misinformation is to try and overwhelm it with better information,” she said.